Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Heady Topper - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Heady TopperHeady Topper

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,070 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,070
Hads: 11,558
Avg: 4.66
pDev: 16.74%
Wants: 8,429
Gots: 3,987 | FT: 55
Brewed by:
The Alchemist visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: scottum on 03-27-2004

"An American Double IPA" 75 IBU 8.0% abv
View: Beers (9) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Heady Topper Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,070 | Hads: 11,558
Photo of JayFunk
4.46/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Fresh Heady is amazing. Older Heady is better than no Heady, although it does drop off a bit as it sits around. Still a very sought after and highly drinkable DIPA. One of my favorites!

 188 characters

Photo of kingmaxwell
4.38/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Exceptional double IPA. No debate, no discussion. This is not a review which argues that this beer is over hyped. I think Alchemist are doing it the way it should be done. Make an excellent product, sell it locally and don't expand.

It wasn't the best beer I've ever had. It was an excellent scent-laden IPA. It has wonderful art and a great drink. I doubt I'm the only person to pound this beer in the parking lot of a random Vermont corner store. It got me very drunk, and exceptionally jolly. I bought it and had to determine if I needed to buy more to ship home. (There were several cases available fresh from the delivery).

After the first sip, I knew that I just wanted to drink these 4 beers on vacation and not stress it. Fighting the collector impulse is hard sometimes, but this is a better experience than a notch-on-the-belt beer. I drank one heady topper in the parking lot, one while watching Bernie kick everyone's ass in the debate (Vermont pride), and one while meandering around a foliage view. I left the fourth beer unfinished.

I'm glad that Heady Topper is in the world. I'm glad I got to try it. I think it is worth consuming this beer with love and respect. Thanks Alchemist.

 1,225 characters

Photo of hardysf
4.99/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Lives up to the hype. Best Ipa ive ever had. Made a pilmrigage to vermont to track this down and came home with two cases. may need to go to Vermont every year. This beer is so juicy and so floral. The hop profile and flavors change throughout the drink and throughout the life of the beer. Every can pleased in a different way.

 335 characters

Photo of flskydiver
4.88/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After trying this beer I understand the hype. From the moment I started drinking it I could not stop taking sips. It tasted like a hop milkshake. So creamy and delicious, each sip built upon the previous with loads of grassy, piney, and tropical flavor bursts balanced perfectly with an amazing yeast/malt backbone. Poured half into my Spiegelau IPA glass and drank the other half from the can. This beer is heavenly. It is the most well balanced beer I've ever had. Well done Alchemist!

 487 characters

Photo of thorkelson
4.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Lives up to the hype. Thank heavens for this beer and the alchemist brewers. The only part of the beer that I felt didn't live up to the IIPA standard of greatness for me was the aroma. It was beautiful - but it was not as much of an explosion as Pliny or SoS. Otherwise - truly an experience of a beer.

 303 characters

Photo of allhoppedup2
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Maybe the best beer I have tasted. I had heard the hype and seen the rating. If you go to Vermont, you need to check out a local store and find out when their deliveries are. I was fortunate enough to score a case at a great spot on Route 7. Smooth, beautifully hopped, lightly malted, magnificently balanced, slightly sweet. Do drink it in the can. I resisted and tried a little bit in a glass first. It is better in the can. the Alchemist has mastered the ability to put a World Class Beer in a can. I'm enjoying one a night until they are gone and I look forward to another trip to Vermont. I will share with only my BEST friends.

 633 characters

Photo of Gajo74
4.99/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I consider myself a relative newcomer to the world of craft beer, having gotten into it rather late in life. However, I consider myself a quick learner. I have been rating and reviewing beers on BA for a little more than a year now. I feel that day by day I'm acquiring more beer tasting experience and that my reviews are getting better. As a result of an increasingly discerning and sophisticated palate, I find that my reviews while mostly positive, are becoming less effusive in praise. This past spring, my father, after a trip from San Francisco, brought me at my request a few bottles of Pliny the Elder. Long story short, I thought it was quite possibly the tastiest and most perfectly balanced IPA I had ever had. I had no choice but to give it a perfect 5.
Fast forward to Columbus day weekend of 2015. My wife and I drove up from NYC for a weekend getaway at a bed and breakfast we like in Lake Luzerne NY. On a whim, from there we decided to drive up to Vermont for a day. We got to Burlington and I immediately went in search of the famous and elusive Heady Topper. After asking around, I found out that it sold out at the liquor stores, but was available at several bars and restaurants on Church Street. We went to have dinner at the Scuffer, which is where I finally laid my lips on this white whale. The verdict:
Absolutely fucking delicious!!!! The aroma is dank, piny, resiny and overpowering with hops, yet, there is also a strong biscuity and crockery malt. The taste: total hop bomb yet such a strong sweet malt presence. Truly a perfect balance. What a tasty, flavorful and delicious brew. So easily drinkable. If I wasn't driving, I would have had about 5 of them.
As for my final score, Ive debated whether or not to give it a perfect 5. I believe that this brew is as good or even better than Pliny the elder. However, as was strongly suggested by the can and my server, I decided to heed their advice of keeping it in the can. However, my wife wanted a taste but refused to drink it from the can. (I know...she's weird about this, but hey, we all have our little quirks) Anyway, I poured her a little bit in a glass and could tell that it was an attractive hazy looking brew .I also took a sip from the glass and could tell how the taste opened up. I could also see how in the can, the tastes of the hops felt more compact and intense, which I might like better. So there you have it. This beer is like a perfect 5, except for the fact that since most of it was invisible to me inside of the can, I was not able to properly evaluate it on the look.

 2,578 characters

Photo of Biggiekrock627
4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I have had this a couple times now....always fresh within 7 to 10 days from VT to my mouth. I did a blind tasting with heady, pliny the elder and sip of sunshine and heady and pliny were the top performers. All very strong beers....I have then done straight out of the can and as weird as it sounds it does add something. Are pliny or heady worth the effort.....if you love hops, and you want the experience....100% yes. If you love beer I think experiencing beers from those who love what you do is key....and The Alchemist love beer and what they do.

 552 characters

Photo of Chuck1026
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is a great IPA for sure. Lots of pine and citrus up front. Smooth finish with nice balanced hops. Alcohol does get more pronounced after a few sips.

 153 characters

Photo of ClavisAurea
4.49/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Craig for giving my one of these. Check this one off the list. I was sharing this with my neighbor so it was not consumed from the can per the directions.

Poured a light orange with a nice white head. The nose was a wonderful combination of citrus, piney, resinous hops, grapefruit, dank and delicious. A nice malty backbone supported the massive hop bloom. The taste followed the nose and was delicious. Grapefruit, orange, lemony, piney and resinous, dank and delicious. So glad I got to try this beer.

 515 characters

Photo of ljc973
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was for sure the best IPA I have ever had. Better than Pliny from the first sip to the last. Clean smell and taste, perfect balance. Carbonation was spot on. If you can get this, get it.

 191 characters

Photo of SHDoyle
4.15/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Description: Golden slightly cloudy color with a white head and lacing. Aroma was a strong floral smell with some citrus, especially orange. Taste was similar with floral and citrus up front. There is some nice hoppy bitterness on the finish but it's not a hopbomb and is very well balanced. I thought I detected some earthy/umami flavors as well but they were pretty masked. The alcohol is present but like the bitterness is not overwhelming. Carbonation is light to medium.

Suggested food pairing: Bacon wrapped bacon

If you like this beer then you should also try: White Rajah

Ideal time to drink this beer: You're on a business trip to Vermont and feel that you should do something "Vermonty" while there. Maple syrup is a popular option, but that seems so lame and cliched. You ask your hotel concierge for a recommendation and he directs you to a local pub where Heady Topper, one of the world's most highly-regarded beers, is available. You pop in for a draft and enjoy the beer, but more importantly you've now earned the right to casually drop a line at dinner parties about how you had a fancy-shmancy beer while in Vermont and can wax about all of its finer points. Chances are the listeners won't have had Heady, so you can say pretty much whatever you want.

Overall: 4.25 (This beer is good and I would likely drink it again) This a good beer, but only a "good" one. If I didn't know Heady's reputation I would never guess that it was considered a top-10 beer in the world. I really wanted this to be a fantastic beer that would blow me away, but I just couldn't get there. I'd put Sip Of Sunshine ahead of this by a wide margin. Maybe the can I had was a little off or less than fresh; I'd like to try some more just to see if that was the case. But for now, I can only judge the one I had and it didn't live up to the hype.

 1,857 characters

Photo of HopsForBrains
4.29/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Hazy orange color, light fruity smell, very drinkable with a smooth feel. Overall this really was a good beer but not the one of the best on the East Coast in my opinion. They really need to start dating their cans to ensure that they are drunken in a timely fashion.

 267 characters

Photo of mich34
4.6/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very nice IPA, I enjoyed this more once I poured the last 1/4 into a glass, I'm going to try the next one in a glass from the get go. Heady had a very nice to it, the smell was not something I picked up well from the can, the taste seemed to be a little citrus with a very small bitter note from the can but was quite drinkable. Once it was in the glass it lost the very mild bitter taste I picked up and became a dipa I could crush!

 433 characters

Photo of Doc_78
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Excellent beer. Recommened to drink out of the can instead pouring into a bottle. Wonderful fruity aroma and delicious hoppy tasta. The great think about this IPA is that it lacks the bitterness that non-hopheads hate. Overall, a great drink and one that is worth the hype.

 273 characters

Photo of ljjpowers
4.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Nearly perfect. This beautiful IPA actually lived up to the hype. Sampled two cans-- one straight from the can and one in a glass (to view). I can confirm that drinking it straight from the can is better... but just slightly. The smoothness and citrus fruit shines through beyond all else. Loved it.

 299 characters

Photo of Stolenface1
4.67/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light cloudy orange with adequate but not super long lasting head. Aroma of tropical fruit, pine, slight floral and pineapple, mango and melon with tropical fruit esters from the yeast. Flavor matches the aroma and add a very slight sweetness that is just enough to play off of the perfect amount of bitterness in this beer. Seems like tons of late addition hops. Mouthfeel is light but with almost a fruit juice feel to it... hard to explain. Overall definitely in my top 5 DIPA's.

 490 characters

Photo of VTR
3.59/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Being raised in VT I had to give this a try albeit on accident. I drank it from the can therefore I could not see the beer but I am assuming it looks the part. I have never have been an IPA fan but the nose was dank, dank, pine and resin. The taste was not like anything I had tasted before, I assume people like the taste and this beer but it was a drain pour for me. Thankfully I had a friend that wanted and could not find it to buy and was very happy to get the remainder as a gift. I appreciate all different types of beer but I could not drink this. Judging from its reviews it is very popular and well liked I just could not get behind this.

 654 characters

Photo of NotAlcoholicJustAHobby
4.67/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

L-A hazy golden peach color with a full inch of white fluffy head. Lacing clings to the sides in layers as I drink.
S-Citrus is plain as the nose on my face. That would make it very plain for those not familiar.
T-There is the citrus you would expect. There is no bitterness what so ever which I find amazing. It's not complex or groundbreaking (anymore), it's simply incredibly well done.
F- A pretty good level of carb. Certainly not full or silky. What you would expect from an DIPA.
O-I now know why people wait in line for this beer. It isn't anything groundbreaking anymore. It's too old for that. It is simply an exhibition of doing something as close to perfection as possible. The can states "So drinkable it's scary", and I think that's about the perfect summation.

 777 characters

Photo of Cramshawbar
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I drove ten hours from Toronto to Vermont, some of which was spent in total darkness through torrential rain, partly, just to try this beer. Once I arrived at the White Horse Inn in Waitsfield, I had my first taste.
It overwhelmed my senses.
I knew it wasn't the best beer I ever had, but I bowed to the fine craftsmanship it took to produce this masterpiece. The hops melted through my body. It tasted potent and I couldn't wait to purchase some, which I did the next day, by driving to Waterbury.
Others have described this beer better than I ever could. But suffice to say, it was worth the drive.
And I fell in love with Vermont to boot!

 644 characters

Photo of NYC-IPAnAPA
4.49/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tough to really add much that hasn't been said many times already below, but here goes. Poured out just a tiny bit to see what it looks like but otherwise almost every time I have drank it from the can as they emphasize. Delicious and great double IPA, with citrusy, piney hop taste. However, what many reviews fail to mention is that in my experience, Heady produces multiple waves of flavor that continue even after you have swallowed the beer. I guess the can says something about "wave after wave of hoppy goodness" and in my experience this isn't just marketing hype. That really is how it tastes, and the multiple waves of flavor is not something I have experienced with almost any other beer. Very interesting and my favorite part about this beer. Overall it's fantastic and definitely worth seeking out. However, it is NOT worth the degree of crazed hype associated with it. I can think of a dozen hoppy beers I have had this year that I'd rather have over Heady. In fact, it's not even the best DIPA made by the brewery (Focal Banger is outstanding). That doesn't mean I don't say yes any time very fresh Heady is offered to me as part of a trade...you should definitely try it at least once.

 1,212 characters

Photo of d0nald
4.74/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

amazing! Don't really know what i was expecting when my brother in law presented this after several days of anticipation but i can say it was worth the wait. Possibly the best ipa/dipa i have ever sampled! Seriously contemplating the 3.5 hr drive+ 1hr wait in line for a case of this...

 289 characters

Photo of beardsmith
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The hype is real. Took a few days to get used to the taste, but this is by far the best beer I've ever had. Tastes hoppy with a hint of pine. Perfect for a summer on Lake Champlain.

 181 characters

Photo of SDavis108
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of my all time favorites. I love this thing I drank this from the can. Fantastic beverage can't find too much that even taste like it but there are some that try. Hands down the best!!!

 189 characters

Photo of EvoRich
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: Poured into a glass, despite the suggestion of drinking from the can. (I was sharing it with two other people). A hazy yellow color with LOTS of fluffy head which lingers and leaves a nice lacing.

Smell: Pure citrus with a light hop bitterness. Very good!

Taste: A lot of citrus upfront, with a nice balance of hops at the finish.

Feel: Very full bodied, and creamy! Very good on this one.

 399 characters

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 2,070 ratings.